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Excursions in Croatia

Mycenae and Nafplio

According to Greek mythology, Perseus founded Mycenae. He used Cyclopes to build the citadel walls so that no human could move them. The earliest mention of the city appears in Homer’s works. Join us for a tour of this fascinating center of Greek civilization and former military stronghold. Notable curiosities include the Lion Gate access way and the circular burial areas. The ruins are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as they played a vital role in the development of Classical Greece from the 15th to 12th centuries BC. The Mycenaean culture is the source of ancient epics and legends such as the labors of Hercules, the Trojan War, and Agamemnon’s tragic life and death. We’ll then continue on to Nafplio, founded by the son of Poseidon as recounted in Greek mythology. Have fun discovering this charming, romantic city dominated by the Palamidi Fortress high on the hill. We’ll also see the Bourtzi Castle, built by an Italian engineer in 1473, just off the coast of the city.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
The Meteora

Discover one of the most spectacular sites in Greece. Although the original town of Kalambaka was destroyed during World War II, the Meteora monasteries remained intact on the summit of the rocks. The caves in the rocks were inhabited by hermit monks in the 9th century AD. They began to build monasteries in the 11th century, and at its peak in the 16th century, there were 24. Today, there are now six functioning monasteries still inhabited by either nuns or monks.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Following an antique aqueduct in Dubrovnik

You’ll leave by coach to the starting point of your hike, which brings you to the hills over Dubrovnik. We’ll begin on an old rail line that dates back to Austro-Hungarian Empire, before meeting up with the 15th-century aqueduct. The aqueduct was a considerable feat for its time, as it brought water from over 7.3 miles away to the city. Our hike will be filled with glorious panoramas at every turn, including views of the Ombla River, Franjo Tudman Bridge, Elaphiti Islands, and the city below. You’ll descend on foot to the Nuncijata district.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Please wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes.
  • Hike: Approx. 4.34 miles (7 km); moderate level.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Achilleion Palace, Gastouri, and the Holy Church of Agia Kyriaki

You’ll be transferred by coach to Achilleion Palace, where we’ll head up above Gastouri to Mount Agioi Dela and over to a vista at the Holy Church of Agia Kyriaki (945 feet in altitude). What makes this hike so special is the beautiful overlooks. The best one is at the chapel, where you’ll be able to see the islet of Pontikonisi, also known as “Mouse Island,” named after its shape. Among the lovely sights on this hike is a grand view of the city of Corfu.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Please wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes.
  • Hike: Approx. 2h30 walk, 919-foot altitude difference (280 m), moderate level.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Llogara National Park and Caesar's Pass

You’ll be transferred to the park by coach. The trail begins near the forest ranger station in this awesome, mountainous national park. We’ll hike through the pine forest and wilderness until we reach Caesar’s Pass. The name comes from Julius Caesar himself, who traveled the path in 48 BC during the Roman Civil War. The summit provides spectacular views of the surrounding valleys, Bay of Vlore, and the verdant Karaburun Peninsula.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Please wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes.
  • Hike: Approx. 2h15 walk, 1.55 miles (2,50 km), 3,126-foot altitude difference (953 m), moderate level.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Hike to the Black Cave of Pellumbas

You’ll be transferred to Pellumbas by coach. We begin our trek along the mountain slope that takes us down to the river canyon. Once we arrive at the Black Cave, we’ll explore inside to get a better look at the impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Leading experts believe it was one of the first prehistoric dwellings in the region based on relics and tools dating as far back as the Neolithic era. If we have the time, we’ll jump in the river for a swim on our way back.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Please wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes.
  • Hike: Approx. 2h45 walk, 1,148-foot altitude difference (350 m), moderate level.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Lecce

Lecce is, quite simply, a Baroque masterpiece. So much so that it has its own name: barocco leccese. Nicknamed “The Florence of the South,” the city is overflowing with rich, historical monuments. At each corner, you’ll find a palace or church built from the soft, workable limestone that is easy to sculpt. Among the many architectural splendors we’ll see from the outside are the buildings in the Piazza del Duomo—including the Duomo, Bishop’s Palace, and Seminary Palace—the Roman amphitheater excavated after World War II, and the Basilica di Santa Croce.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Herculaneum

Herculaneum's fate runs parallel to Pompeii. Destroyed by an earthquake in 62 AD, the subsequent eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD saw it submerged in a sea of mud that essentially fossilized the city. Uncovered in 1709, it is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We'll leave by coach to visit the ruins and get a good idea of how ancient Romans lived. The excellent state of preservation is due to the rapid invasion of the lava flow, which prevented the buildings from collapsing. This meant that even delicate items, such as furniture and clothing, were discovered remarkably well preserved. Mosaics carved and painted frescoes, marble fountains and sinks, exquisite tile floors, and beautifully carved statues can be found throughout the city. Enjoy some free time on your own before returning to the ship in Naples.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Ortygia

One of the most fascinating cities in Sicily awaits us today. The 2,700-year-old city of Syracuse played a key role in ancient times when it was one of the major powers of the Mediterranean world. You'll visit Ortygia, the small island that is the historical center of the city. You'll come across the majestic ruins of the Greek Temple of Apollo, the Piazza Archimede, and the Piazza Duomo, an elliptical open space lined with harmonious and impressive buildings.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Bari

Bari sits on the fertile coast facing the sea and serves as a gateway to the Adriatic. Its medieval, well-preserved old town contains a labyrinth of streets and alleys, along with beautiful palaces and several Roman monuments.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Berat and Apollonia

Berat is one of the highlights when visiting Albania, whose most striking feature is the white houses climbing up the hill to its castle. The center of Berat is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains rare examples of Ottoman-style architecture. The old quarter contains lovely ensembles of whitewashed walls, tiled roofs and cobblestone roads. Although Berat is now a major tourist site, it has managed to retain its easy-going charm and friendly atmosphere. Don't miss it! We'll enjoy lunch during our excursion and then continue on to the largest archaeological site in Albania: Apollonia. Apollonia was founded in 588 B.C. by Greek colonists from Corfu and Corinth. The city flourished during Roman rule and was home to a renowned school of philosophy. Julius Caesar rewarded Apollonia with the status of “free city” for supporting him during the Great Roman Civil War. The future Emperor Augustus completed his studies here. The picturesque ruins within the city walls include a small theatre and the elegant pillars on the restored facade of the city's administrative center.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Hike to Krka Falls

Hike through the Krka National Park on walkways leading past lakes and waterfalls and down to Skradin (4.5 hours, 5 miles, 820-foot altitude difference).

You'll be transferred to the starting point for your hike.

Come discover Krka National Park and its famous waterfalls. We'll trek along wooden walkways and earthen and stone paths.
The trail follows the waterfall formations. On the first part of the hike, you'll see just the smaller falls that are well-known for their extraordinary beauty. When coming back, you'll be treated to the show of a lifetime: the Krka Falls.
The waterfalls are a karstic phenomenon, and the river water has created a canyon up to 656 feet deep through limestone hills. You'll see a large and clear natural pool with high waterfalls at one end and smaller cascades at the other.
A wooden bridge will allow you to take in the sight from up close. Now you'll know why the falls are one of Croatia's most famous sites.

PLEASE NOTE

  • PLEASE WEAR COMFORTABLE, STURDY SHOES AND APPROPRIATE CLOTHING ACCORDING TO THE WEATHER.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Buggy safari in Korcula

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines and hold on to your hats! Experience Korcula Island in a unique way with this exciting journey in your own 2-seater buggy.
You'll be transferred to Lumbarda by boat.
After a safety briefing, you will enjoy buggy driving on gravel roads through gorgeous landscapes full of olive groves and vineyards. You'll be far from the crowds and up close and personal with nature.
Have the time of your life exploring the coastal routes and taking in the magnificent sea views between Zrnovo and Lumbarda.
While returning to our ship, enjoy a tasting of some local products.

PLEASE NOTE

  • PLEASE WEAR COMFORTABLE, STURDY SHOES AND APPROPRIATE CLOTHING ACCORDING TO THE WEATHER.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
  • The buggy driver must have a driver's license and be over 18 years old.
Urban hike on Hvar Island to the fortress

The island of Hvar is the empress of the Croatian Dalmatian Islands. This excursion is the best way to discover the hidden treasures of Hvar Town.

Your trek will begin in the port of Hvar, where you'll meet up with your guide. You'll set out on an urban hike across the picturesque town. Known as the "Croatian Saint Tropez,” it has retained all of the charm of days gone by. Walking also takes you through the long history of this city, where every stone has its own story to tell. We'll hike all the way to the Spanish fortress overlooking the island, where you'll be able to bask in the spectacular landscape surrounding you. After we return to the port, enjoy some free time on your own before returning to the ship.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Good hiking shoes are highly recommended.
  • Telescopic hiking poles are optional, but recommended.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Bike tour on Vis Island

At the port of Vis, we'll pick up our bikes and set out with our guide for a bike tour of the island.
We'll discover the hidden treasures of Vis, where everyone rides any-old bike: old and young, natives and tourists. After leaving the town, we'll pass through other typical villages on the island, including Plisko Polje, Dracevo Polje and Podspilje. The trip gives a fascinating insight into the complex character of this tiny isle.
Following our tour, we'll return to the ship.

PLEASE NOTE

  • You must wear appropriate shoes and bike wear.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
  • Attention: children are under the responsibility of their parents and must be autonomous by bike (approx. 9.5 km, 200 m altitude difference).
Butrint

For this excursion, we’ll leave Saranda and head inland, crossing the Bistricë River and the vast Vrina Plain before arriving at the salt lagoon known as Lake Butrint. We’ll visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrint, once part of the Greek and Roman colonies. Inhabited since prehistoric times, the city experienced a great period of prosperity under Byzantine rule. The most ancient objects found at the archaeological site are a stone hammer and a shaft belonging to the latter part the second millennium BCE. There are also many extraordinary Greek objects, including statues of their gods. The first modern archaeological excavations began in 1928 when Benito Mussolini sent an expedition to extend Italian dominance into the area. The excavations, which continued through 1943, uncovered the Hellenistic and Roman part of the ancient city including the "Lion Gate" and the "Scaean Gate." The most interesting ancient Greek monument is the theater, which is fairly well preserved. The major ruin from the paleo-Christian era is the baptistery, an ancient Roman monument adapted to the cultural needs of Christianity. In the 5th century, Butrint became an Episcopal center, only to be abandoned several centuries later. It was reconstructed under Byzantine control in the 9th century.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Tirana

We’ll hit the road for Tirana, nestled between Dajti Peak and the coastal plains. We'll first visit the National History Museum, which takes you chronologically from ancient Illyria to the post-communist era. The museum is divided into pavilions, each portraying the diversity of Albanian history, including the Antiquity, Middle Ages, Ottoman Occupation and Albanian Resistance, as well as its independence from Turkey in 1912. There are two pavilions dedicated to the rise of fascism and the consequent era of communist terror. Bringing inspiration through all this, is the final pavilion dedicated to Mother Theresa’s life and work. Tirana's National History Museum is currently closed for restoration. The visit will be replaced by a visit to the Bunk'Art museum. This former nuclear shelter now houses a museum retracing the history of modern Albania, from the Italian assault of 1839 to the collapse of Communism, which you will discover through old photographs and original documents. After our visit, we’ll set out on foot for Skanderbeg Square, the city center surrounded by important government buildings, as well as the historic Et'hem Bey Mosque.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Gjirokastër

Join us for an excursion to Gjirokastër, one of the most beautiful sites in Albania. Its castle, which is undoubtedly one of the most magnificent structures in Gjirokastër, sits on a rocky bluff with the city stretching out around it. This “City of Stone” is also comprised of hundreds of Ottoman-style tower homes with distinctive stone roofs, wooden balconies, and whitewashed stone walls. We’ll visit the castle and the National Museum of Armaments located inside, which houses various arms from the neolithic period to World War II. We’ll also enjoy a tasting of some local products.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Stari Bar

Stari Bar, meaning “Old Bar,” is located a few miles from the newer city of Bar at the foot of Mount Rumija. Although Stari Bar was abandoned after the 1979 earthquake because the aqueduct that supplied water to the town was damaged, it was restored some years later and the population began to return. The walls along Stari Bar contain some fascinating ruins, including the foundations of St. George Cathedral, the Church of St. John, and the Church of St. Verenada. Enjoy some free time to stroll about the town on your own.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Sibenik and the Krka Falls

Sibenik is located in the central part of the Croatian Adriatic Coast, in the picturesque and indented bay where the Krka River enters the sea. Discover this gorgeous city while strolling down its 15th- and 16th-century streets. We'll also visit the St. James' Cathedral, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and built between 1433 and 1477 entirely out of stone. Afterwards, we'll leave for Krka Falls by coach. Skradinski buk is one of the most attractive parts of Krka National Park. It is a large and clear natural pool with high waterfalls at one end and smaller cascades at the other. A trail will get you as close as you can to the falls. We'll return to Sibenik by coach.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Beware of the many steps to climb before accessing the waterfalls.
  • The tours are mostly done on foot, either on cobblestone roads or dirt paths (national parks). Please wear comfortable, sturdy shoes. 
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Guided tour of Trogir

Trogir, as large as the island on which it was erected, is a real beauty with its intricate alleyways, stairways and vaulted passages. Its treasures of Roman and Renaissance architecture have led the town to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You'll be able to discover the magnificent Cathedral of St. Lawrence with its surprising interior. Long considered one of the best spots to visit on the Dalmatian coast, Trogir will delight you. You'll also visit the Town Hall and the old town, still brimming with fully preserved monuments from the 13th to the 15th centuries.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The tours are mostly done on foot, either on cobblestone roads or dirt paths (national parks). Please wear comfortable, sturdy shoes.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Guided tour of Split

The city of Split with its population of 140, 000 is the largest in Dalmatia as well as being an active university and artistic center. You will visit Diocletian's Palace, built by a simple soldier who became the Emperor. Diocletian chose to end his days in this palace after he abdicated in 305 AD.

Our guided tour of the city will take you along Trumbiceva Obala (Riva), a vast promenade along the southern façade of the Palace. You’ll get to see the well-preserved roman city wall, the Cathedral  built on the site of the mausoleum towards the end of the 7th century, as well as Diocletian’s Palace’s peristyle, the Temple of Jupiter and the Cathedral of Saint Domnius.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The tours are mostly done on foot, either on cobblestone roads or dirt paths (national parks). Please wear comfortable, sturdy shoes.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Guided tour of Mljet

Mljet is definitely the most charming island in all of the Mediterranean sea. It has kept a wild appearance with 72% of its surface being covered in forest, and wine and olive oil are still being traditionally made to this day. One island legend claims that Odysseus spent seven years here on his way home from the Trojan War. After a stroll down a hiking trail along with your guide, local boats will take you to the Benedictine monastery from the 12th century located in the middle of Veliko Jezero, a salt lake in the national park of Mljet. The monastery sits proudly among the Aleppo pines, surrounded by sandy beaches. We'll take the same itinerary back to the boat.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Good walking shoes are recommended (walkway on dirt and cobblestone roads : 1h round trip).
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Guided tour of Dubrovnik

The former Republic of Ragusa is famous for its medieval walls and its wide variety of historical architecture.

We'll visit the Dominican Friary, its lovely Gothic cloister, and its extraordinary museum of religious art - with several valuable paintings, including a triptych by Nikola Bozidarevic depicting Dubrovnik before the great earthquake of 1667. We'll then see the Rector's Palace, once the seat of the government and now a museum housing furniture, portraits, coats of arms, paintings, coins, and the original keys to the city gates. We'll also visit the cathedral which keeps in its core gold and silver reliquaries as well as paintings from Titian’s workshop, before moving on to the Onofrio Fountains and Sponza Palace, a superb Gothic-Renaissance structure.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Good walking shoes are recommended.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Guided tour of Korcula

Korcula is Croatia's greenest island - with its Mediterranean vegetation, emerald and sapphire sea, sandy shoreline and a wealth of underwater sea life. We'll visit the island on foot starting with the Cathedral Sveti Marko, the most important building in the old town. The cathedral's facade is decorated with beautiful fluted reliefs and statues, while the main door is framed by statues of Adam and Eve and figures of lions. We'll also enjoy the exhibits in the town museum, a treasure of cultural and commercial milestones from prehistoric times to the present.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Good walking shoes are strongly recommended.
  • The tours are mostly done on foot, either on cobblestone roads or dirt paths (national parks). Please wear comfortable, sturdy shoes. 
Guided tour of Kotor

It is estimated that Kotor owns 70 % of the historic and cultural monuments of Montenegro. That is why Kotor is classed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Founded by the Romans on the Adriatic coast in Montenegro, Kotor developed into an important commercial and artistic center in the Middle Ages. You'll visit the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, which was seriously damaged and rebuilt after the earthquake of 1667 - the reason its two towers are so different from one another. Then you'll visit the maritime museum in the Grgurina Palace and its collection showing the development of past maritime and cultural activities.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The tours are mostly done on foot, either on cobblestone roads or dirt paths (national parks). Please wear comfortable, sturdy shoes.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Guided tour of Hvar

Hvar is known as the queen of the Croatian Dalmatian islands and is lined with vast fields of lavender, ancient olive trees and vineyards. You'll tour the Franciscan monastery and its exceptional collection of old Venetian paintings, lacework, coins and rare books, and the Renaissance-style exterior of Saint Stephen Cathedral combined with its baroque-style interior.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Good walking shoes are recommended (walking tour).
  • The tours are mostly done on foot, either on cobblestone roads or dirt paths (national parks). Please wear comfortable, sturdy shoes.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Athens and the Acropolis

We’ll set off by coach with our guides for the Athens Acropolis, situated on a 150m-high rocky plateau and which in Ancient times was a vast sanctuary for the worship of the Goddess Athena and numerous other gods in Greek mythology. You will have the chance to discover the different temples on the site including the Parthenon, built in the 5th century BC and dedicated to Athena, whose gold and ivory statue stood in the sanctuary. It was destroyed during the siege of the city during the 12th century crusades, and the Parthenon was turned into a Catholic church when the Franks occupied Athens, then into a mosque by the Turks in the 17th century. You will also visit a number of other remarkable monuments still standing such as the Erechtheion, an elegant little temple dating back to the 5th century BC; the Temple of Athena Nike, known in Ancient Greece as the "temple of victory"; the Propylaea, the monumental entrance to the Acropolis; the ancient Theatre of Dionysos and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus...

You will then return to the coach to finish off with a panoramic tour of the modern city of Athens, also taking in the Agora, the center of public life for the ancient Athenians. This square open space served a variety of purposes: political, religious, economic, commercial and cultural.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Good shoes are recommended.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.